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What is Gua Sha? - Acupuncture Health Minute

What is Gua Sha?

Gua Sha, also known as spooning, scraping, or coining, is an Asian Body Work modality, one of Traditional Chinese Medicine's (TCM) main branches. Gua Sha is the use of an instrument made of stone, mineral, horn, or plastic to stroke along lubricated skin in one direction over an area of the body that is being treated. The stroking action over the skin releases petechiae or "sha" or extravasated blood underneath the skin.

Why release petechiae or "Sha"?

Blood stagnation is one of the leading causes of pain and pathology in TCM. Gua Sha can break up blood stagnation resulting in the release or raising of Sha. Clinical studies have shown that raising Sha has lasting physiological effects that protect the immune system and reduce inflammation. These effects make Gua Sha a powerful modality to alleviate pain and stiffness, chills and fever, wheezing, coughing, and nausea and vomiting.

Gua Sha benefits include

Invigorating the blood or increasing circulation

Facial Rejuvenation diminish fines lines and wrinkles

Relieves tension and stiffness from tendons and muscles.

Benefits the lymphatic system by draining the lymph from the body

How is Gua Sha done?

It is done on bare skin that has been prepared with a lubricating oil or balm. The technique consists of slow, rhythmic, repetitive strokes applying force (approximately 4 lbs) along the musculature, while avoiding boney prominences. It is applicable to many practitioners and commonly implemented by acupuncture physicians, massage therapists, and physical therapists. It increases microcirculation in the area treated, particularly in muscles. Releasing the petechiae produces a biomechanism that relieves pain not just in the treatment area but also distal to it that lasts for up to a week.

Who can get Gua Sha?

Most people are able to receive a Gua Sha treatment. However, it is essential to share your medical history and current medications with your provider. People should not get Gua Sha treatment if they take blood thinners, have a clotting/bleeding disorder, rosacea, eczema, severe acne, other skin inflammation, unhealed wound, or sunburn. Discuss your concerns with your provider prior to the treatment.

What is it like to have a Gua Sha treatment?

Gua Sha is a very grounding experience. The slow, gentle glide of the Gua Sha tool activates the parasympathetic nervous system inducing a deep state of relaxation, calming of the mind, and oneness with the spirit. This mind, body, and spirit grounding experience lasts beyond the session, allowing for emotionally balanced reactions to stress with mindfulness. During the treatment, meditate on self-reflection and visualization of future aspirations.

What else can Gua Sha do?

It can clear blocked acupuncture channels that interconnect all organs energetically in our bodies and promote the free flow of Qi (life force energy) and blood throughout the body. Aches, pains, nausea, and inflammation are some of the symptoms that indicate a blockage in one of these channels preventing free flow to an organ or channel. This can cause an organ to not function properly and produce more symptoms: emotional imbalance, incontinence, edema, and hypertension, just to name a few. Gua Sha can clear the blockages, thereby relieving symptoms to restore wellness. It is good to note that the scraping of the skin is a manual movement that can stimulate the lymphatic system, promoting the proper function of organs riding them of stagnation. This releases toxins and other waste previously trapped and can now be removed through circulation and lymph. It is a beautiful detoxifying technique.

Come to AcuMed Wellness & Acupuncture on St Armands Circle in Sunny Sarasota today to discuss how Tui Na can help support your health goals. We are located 1/3 of a mile from Lido Beach, just down the street from Longboat Key, and a hop, skip, and a jump from Siesta Key. After your treatment, enjoy a short walk to Lido Beach to put your feet in the sand & breath in the salt air from the Gulf of Mexico & savor a moment of meditation, prayer, and yoga.

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